IAMC Weekly News Digest, 11th September 2021
An academic conference in the US addressing Hindu nationalism is being targeted by rightwing Hindu groups, which have sent death threats to participants and forced several scholars to withdraw. The conference, titled Dismantling Global Hindutva, which is co-sponsored by more than 53 universities including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rutgers, has come under attack after several groups in India and the US accused the event of being “anti-Hindu”. The aim of the conference, which will begin online on 10 September, is to bring together scholars to discuss Hindutva, otherwise known as Hindu nationalism, a rightwing movement that believes India should be an ethnic Hindu state, rather than a secular nation. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), led by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has pushed forward a Hindu nationalist agenda, under which India’s 200 million Muslims have faced discrimination and attacks….
A Massey University academic is getting online bashing for his work on right-wing Hindu nationalist groups. Dean’s Chair in Communication Professor Mohan Dutta says Hindutva trolls have been flooding his social media accounts in recent weeks, some of them abusive and calling on Massey University to fire him and retract his work. “I get that with white supremacists,” said Dutta, who also addresses hate and white supremacy in his work, “but the sheer scale of this is really the first time.”… “And not just from one or two, but a set of different people and what seem like organisations,” he said. Dutta’s work critiques Hindutva ideology and maps the influence of Islamophobia in Indian groups associated with it….
A pastor and two others, including an officer-bearer of a Christian outfit, were allegedly manhandled and abused inside a police station in Raipur on Sunday by members of a right-wing Hindutva organisation. The group of right-wing activists accused pastor Harish Sahu of indulging in religious conversion and manhandled him as well as Ankush Bariyekar, general secretary of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, and one Prakash Masih, inside the Purani Basti police station. “Sahu had been called to the police station after a right-wing organisation submitted a complaint against him that he is indulging in religious conversions. Accordingly, he came to the police station today along with Bariyekar and Masih. But a group of right-wing activists present there manhandled and abused the trio inside the chamber of the station house officer (SHO),” a police official told PTI….